Werner Callebaut: Beyond reduction and emergence
Talk given by Werner Callebaut, of the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research, Austria. Given to the Redwood Center for Theoretical Neuroscience at UC Berkeley on April 1, 2009. This is the first of two talks given by Werner to the Redwood Center on that day.
The positivist unity of science program resulted, somewhat paradoxically, in an anti-reductionist consensus in the philosophy of biology that resonated with postmodernist calls for disunity. In this talk I reconsider the issue of reduction and challenges to it (related to multiple realizability and supervenience, downward causation, emergence, and the myth of fundamentality) in the light of new reductionisms? inspired by quantum physics(Gell-Mann and the Santa Fe Institute) and developments in the neurosciences; and I discuss how disunity can be resisted even if reductionist programs fail.